Crusaders at the University of Dallas partake in school events such as the Big Event in order to participate in community service. The Big Event is also an opportunity for all students to get to know different and new kinds of people in and outside of the UD bubble. Athletes, in particular, use this as an opportunity to get closer to non-athlete students.
Maria Pecha, a senior biology major and cross-country captain, participated in the Big Event. She likes volunteering because it makes her feel productive and helpful to the community. At the Big Event, Pecha was assigned to redo a front-yard landscape.
Pecha explained, “We showed up at a Montessori school and our task was to rip up and empty out big garden beds that were in the front of the house and then fill them in with new dirt and put in new plants.”
In Pecha’s group, she only knew two of the other people. She shared that she is open to meeting new people. Most of the other people in her group were freshmen and she got to introduce them to people she knew.
“Sometimes it helps that I’m an athlete, and so it’s easier to get to know other athletes regardless of what teams we’re on,” Pecha explained. “But I think in general, most of the sports teams, especially ones that like have bigger teams tend to just be closer and not be as inclusive to regular students.”
Although athletes tend to make friends with other athletes, the Big Event enforces inclusion within both student athletes and other students. Pecha’s advice for students who are hesitant to participate in the Big Event is to do it anyway. She encourages students to not being nervous about not knowing anyone.
Pecha shared, “It forces you to work with other people in a positive way, so you have to get to know them to get the job done. And it’s always like a positive relationship that you develop with the people on your team. It’s never going to turn into a fight or something.”
Evan Corsiglia, a sophomore biology major and a soccer player, chose to participate in the Big Event because it was an opportunity to serve the community and to get closer to students. He and his group of about 16 students helped at a priest’s house.
Corsiglia explained, “We removed some bushes that they didn’t need or want anymore. We also laid down some mulch, and we mowed their lawn, and also we did in the front and back area.”
Corsiglia shared that the work was easier because of the amount of people helping out. He said that he participated with one other soccer teammate and that the rest were non-athlete students.
“I got to meet a lot of new people,” Corsiglia said. “There are a few people that I had seen here on campus a lot but I never got to meet them so that was nice. And it was nice because we just kind of cooperated and kind of formed a little team through the Big Event.”
Corsiglia believes that the Big Event connected athletes to non-athletes because most of the time you don’t know if the other members in your team are athletes or not. For him, it was nice to meet people outside of his team. He believes that the Big Event makes the UD community a lot closer.
Corsiglia plans on continuing to participate next year. For those who are hesitant in participating, he encourages them.
“It not only allows you to, you know, serve those who are in need and who are not capable of helping themselves and it gives you an opportunity to help those who do need help, but it also helps you form strong relationships with people that you don’t know and people that you do know,” Corsiglia said.
Cosiglia sees how participating in the Big Event impacted him positively. He said that it helped him form new relationships on campus.
Corsiglia commented, “I’m able to say hi to them and it just makes the day better because you get to say hi to more people.”
The Big Event is an opportunity for all UD students to get to know new people and connect to the community. It is an opportunity for students, both athletes and non-athletes, to get involved in the community and make a difference even if it’s small.